The tweeps said the former Lagos governor avoided the debate because he knows it would be a disaster.
Nigerians have taken to Twitter to reveal why the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu avoided the presidential debate organised on Sunday in Abuja by Arise TV.
According to social media users, the former Lagos governor is running away to avoid embarrassment because he knows that such an outing will be a disaster.
Tinubu had refused to honour previous invitations from TV stations and others to presidential candidates to share their plans for the country, ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Since he emerged winner at the APC presidential primary election in June, Tinubu has not appeared on any TV or radio interview programme like his counterparts.
Arise TV in collaboration with the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) in partnership with LEADERSHIP Newspaper on Sunday held the Presidential Town Hall debate for some selected 2023 presidential candidates.
The presidential town hall debate was expected to be attended in person by the presidential candidates but while the candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) attended in person, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was represented by his running mate, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State.
Tinubu neither attended nor sent any representative.
In a statement signed by the APC’s Director of Public Affairs and Spokesperson for Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo, the ruling party said its candidate did not attend the debate because he had turned down interview and public debate requests from other media organisations.
The APC stated that Tinubu did not attend the Presidential Debate because “Firstly, many radio and TV networks in Nigeria have indicated interests to host such debates and out of deference to other TV and radio stations, our candidate will not be making selective appearances in some networks, whilst ignoring others. As President of Nigeria, by the Special Grace of God, he intends to treat all persons and businesses fairly and equally.
“Secondly, the busy and hectic campaign schedules of Asiwaju Tinubu will not permit him to honour all such invitations by different radio and TV networks, hence our decision for him not to start with one TV station and later ignore others.
“Thirdly, our candidate had long before now realised the importance of speaking directly to Nigerians and shortly after unfolding his Action Plan as President embarked on Town Hall meetings beginning with his interaction with the Business Community and other stakeholders in Kano followed by the Town Hall meeting and presentation by experts last week in Lagos. Tomorrow, he will be interacting with Agro and Commodity Groups in Minna, Niger State.
“Whilst we thank Arise TV for the invitation, we want to assure Nigerians that we shall continue to hold these debate groups and Nigerians in high esteem. Nigerians will hear from our candidate loud and clear through other forums.
"Lastly, out of profound respect for Nigerians, we urge all our party structures and supporters at the grassroots to continue to organise town hall meetings to educate Nigerians on the Action Plan of our candidate as we believe a grassroots-approach to reach Nigerians will also be more profound.”
However, tweeps insisted that Tinubu did not attend the public debate because he knew that he would have flopped and messed things up for himself and his political party.
SaharaReporters earlier reported that Tinubu was ailing and underwent surgeries overseas last year.
A tweep, @dollings_ said, “Some of us knew he was never going to attend any presidential debate. His team would continue to organise town hall meetings with his allies, those that would clap for him even when he spews rubbish.”
Also, @Mrczarr said, “The last Town hall meeting Tinubu did was a disaster, his handlers knew he'd mess this one up too...but sending Shettima would look like he is incompetent, so they did not show up at all so it'd look like ''levels.''
Another tweep, @mcdon024_ wrote, “Shut up..Tinubu went for party in Garki...instead of coming to tell Nigerians why he wants to be President...you guys keep hiding Tinubu like palliative...we are watching..sensible Nigerians are watching too.”
For @tm_goodies, “Now I knew why Tinubu didn't come to the town hall meeting. He would have urinated on his cloth with the kind of question being thrown. The engagement is above Tinubu.”
Also reacting to Tinubu’s absence at the debate, @VictoryEme said, “Fellow Nigerians, we need no soothsayer to know who means well for us. If some aspirants do not value us enough to meet & tell us what they'll do for us, shall we waste our votes for them?
“It is now clear that the race for the 2023 Presidency is between @PeterObi and @KwankwasoRM,” referring to the two presidential candidates who attended the debate in person.
@UDiachavbe, said that “Tinubu does not respect Nigerians. This write up is rubbish as far as I'm concerned. We, the majority of Nigerians, especially the youth will teach Tinubu a lesson at the polls. It's like you guys don't know what you are joking with. Cock and bull stories! We reject Tinubu!!!!!”
Another tweep, @ojoayomidem, said that “It’s just a case of “you can’t give what you do not have”. Your party is a party of excuse just as highlighted in the attached tweet.”